Animal magic with puppets

(Fox cubs being operated) The Crowstarver is being performed at the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton from March 27-31.
(Fox cubs being operated) The Crowstarver is being performed at the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton from March 27-31.
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You wouldn’t normally see animals such as dogs, horses and flocks of birds running riot on a theatre stage.

But that’s exactly what happens as Theatre Alibi presents The Crowstarver at the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton from March 27-31.

Based on Dick King-Smith’s novel, the unique production features domestic animals such as dogs, cats and horses portrayed by the actors, while puppets have been designed for the other animals, such as foxes.

The Crowstarver tells the story of a boy with an extraordinary gift with animals, who grows up on a farm in the early days of the Second World War.

When Theatre Alibi first looked at adapting the book for the stage, the company knew that one of the big challenges would be how to depict the many animals that are as important to the story as any human character.

With the puppets being designed by Trina Bramman, she says: ‘The Crowstarver is set on a 1940s farm so we wanted to use the textures and tools that you might find there to make the animal puppets.

‘We went to the dump and found a huge pile of stuff – ropes, old bits of bridle, tools.’

Tickets cost £10.50 to £19 from the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton on (023) 8067 1771 or go to nuffieldtheatre.co.uk.